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Blowout helps football shake off first loss

WSU defense kept Colorado from scoring after allowing 37 points to California in week seven

Freshman+defensive+back+Armani+Marsh+runs+the+ball+through+an+opening+in+the+defensive+line+during+the+Homecoming+game+against+Colorado+on+Saturday.+WSU+won+by+a+final+score+of+28-0.
Freshman defensive back Armani Marsh runs the ball through an opening in the defensive line during the Homecoming game against Colorado on Saturday. WSU won by a final score of 28-0.

Freshman defensive back Armani Marsh runs the ball through an opening in the defensive line during the Homecoming game against Colorado on Saturday. WSU won by a final score of 28-0.

OLIVER McKENNA | The Daily Evergreen

OLIVER McKENNA | The Daily Evergreen

Freshman defensive back Armani Marsh runs the ball through an opening in the defensive line during the Homecoming game against Colorado on Saturday. WSU won by a final score of 28-0.

SAM HEIKELL, Evergreen columnist

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Despite poor conditions, Cougar football (7-1, 4-1) bounced back from a disappointing loss to University of California, Berkeley, with a commanding 28-0 victory against University of Colorado, Boulder (4-4, 1-4) on Saturday.

WSU’s loss against Cal on Oct. 13 brought its undefeated start to a surprising halt. The air raid offense was nowhere to be found in the Golden Bears’ 37-3 upset. WSU’s offensive line crumbled and its defense failed to get stops.

After such a baffling loss, the Cougars’ season suddenly became unpredictable. There were no guarantees on how the team’s next game or the rest of the schedule would pan out.

They responded with a blowout victory of their own against the Buffaloes.

It wasn’t a pretty game by any means. With a steady downpour of rain, wind and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees, it was difficult to tell just how well they recovered from last week.

“Less pathetic” was Head Coach Mike Leach’s way of putting it.

WSU’s defense played a superb game, getting its second shutout of the season and holding their opponent to less than 200 total yards on the night. The Buffs failed to get anything going on offense, as their Head Coach Mike Maclntyre used three different quarterbacks.

“I’m really excited about the style of play tonight,” WSU Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch said after the game. “I thought that all of the guys played hard right from the get-go. It’s hard to do what the kids did tonight.”

The defense also held Colorado’s deadliest weapon in check. Senior tailback Phillip Lindsay was bottled up, as the Cougars kept Lindsay to 98 yards on 29 carries.

“There’s probably not a back that we have more respect for; he’s a fun back to watch when you’re not playing against him,” Grinch said. “But, we certainly slowed him enough to get the result that we wanted.”

WSU’s offense had a solid performance on the evening, as the elements forced the team to commit more to the ground game. They totaled 194 rushing yards.

Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for three touchdowns and 197 yards, despite the swirling winds and receivers dropping wide-open catches throughout the game.

“I think we did a good job of not making excuses and going out there and putting some points on the board,” Falk said.

Even though the Cougars got the job done, some uncertainties remain that they still need to work out. For example, will they have another game like they did against the Golden Bears or was that just a Friday the 13th fluke?

The offense put up enough points to win, but there wasn’t any extra sense of urgency. Even though the weather played a big role in the game, Leach questioned the toughness of his team once again.

“I thought we played soft at times,” Leach said. “You know, people saying, ‘I’m cold, my arm hurts, oh, my foot hurts,’ all of that crap.”

WSU eventually found its rhythm after a slow start. However, the team took its foot off the gas pedal. They lost a couple fumbles, punted the football and had back-to-back three-and-outs. As a punishment, Leach made the offense do up-downs on the sideline.

“If you go three-and-out twice in a row, that’s just pathetic,” Leach said. “I didn’t think that we had very good tempo, I think we felt good about being up by three touchdowns and I didn’t find that to be satisfactory.”

The Cougars will head to Arizona, with the hopes of getting another road win.

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Blowout helps football shake off first loss